With all this talk of rockstar programmers, I like Ron Evan’s take when he says, “I Would Rather Be A Jazz Programmer”.

Here are some differences, as I see them:


  • One bit hit song, then disappears
  • Embarrass themselves as they age
  • Claims they wrote the song
  • Keeps trying to get back that sound they used to have
  • Gets back together with the old band after unsuccessful solo careers
  • Wants to marry a model and have a movie cameo
  • Won’t play without a contract and advance payment


  • One big hit, and they become an influencer
  • Get cooler with age
  • Claims the song is just a cool arrangement of a standard
  • Keeps trying to produce a new sound
  • Records with a variety of musicians over time
  • Wants to become a professor at Berkeley School of Music
  • Jams on the street corner just because they feel like it

While I like some rock bands such as U2 and I like some Jazz, my favorite music falls under the umbrella of Electronica including, but not limited to, BreakBeat, Trance, House, Trip-Hop, Electro, Jungle and Downtempo.

It occurred to me that I would rather be a DJ programmer than any of these.


Here are some reasons why:

  • Never suffer from the Not Invented Here syndrome.
  • Are masters of re-use, to a fault.
  • The best do produce new music from scratch when they see a specific need that isn’t being addressed by already existing music.
  • Are great at mash-ups and integrating parts of multiple songs to create a new and more interesting song, aka a remix.
  • The best get paid a lot for a couple of hours of easy work. How hard is it to spin some vinyl, CDs, or audio files from a laptop as some do now?

At the very least, I would like to be paid like a DJ. Not the guy at your local dive, I’m talking about the big names who get paid $50K for three hours of work. What kind of music reflects your coding style?